Anyone who knows me well knows I'm impetuous and have a tendency to act on impulse. Not the best personality trait, but it has often served me well, especially when it comes to trusting gut instincts. I always listen to my inner voice and usually get a very clear signal. Occasionally, it's not the "best" signal, but nine times out of 10, I'm happy with the choices I've made. But there is one lingering doubt about a big choice I made, and that's this house I bought back in 2021.
What reeled me in (perhaps blindly) was its potential; to me, this cute old house just needed my special variety of TLC to transform it from a rough stone (literally) into a polished pearl (diamond? no, that's stretching it a bit too far).
If I'm being honest, it was probably the price that swayed me; I mean, it really did cost next to nothing (as far as houses go). And when I asked the realtor at l'Adresse in Montrichard how much she thought it would cost to bring this 19th century house into the 21st century and make it a home, she thought about it for a moment, then looked me in the eyes and said, "Oh, about 15,000 euro."
A house in a cute town with a train station and a health food store and a swimmable river and a weekly market in a lovely part of France just 90 minutes from Paris for less than 50,000 euro? VENDU!
The problem was she was BOLD FACE LYING! And/or really isn't a professional in her line of work. Because, come on. We're so far beyond that it's not even funny (Even if it is kind of hilarious. Stupid Americans!)
As you can see from some of these before and after chronicles, there has been some progress. We owe it all to Vivien, the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend we hired to put in the staircase connecting the living room to the kitchen. Eventually, we hired him to put in a second staircase, install a new kitchen, and lay down floors upstairs and downstairs after the waxed concrete floor guy flaked out. He's also served as the lead organizer on the project when we couldn't find anyone else for the job, creating schedules and keeping everyone on track. We would be lost without him.
But even with all his skills, Vivien was no match for the consummate flakiness that was our plumber.
Monsieur Veteau, all 4-foot-nothing of him, was the biggest of the big fat liars on this project. Even though he was slow to send photos of his work, and I played by the rules and paid his invoices (including the biggie for the shower, toilets, sinks, tile, towel drying rack, and other bathroom fittings). When I called him and asked him why, after several months, he hadn't done any work, he replied, "Oh, it was the carpenter's fault; he was late getting the sub-floor finished so my work was delayed."
OK, but when can you resume work?
"Oh, are you back from California already? I didn't know you were back!"
Yes, I'm back. When can you start?
"Well, there's been a problem with the furniture. Some of it arrived damaged."
Oh yeah? Like what?
"Um, like the the knob for the shower."
This is when I suspected something was really wasn't right. But more on that in the next post.